Australia news September 7, 2009

Australia's captaincy contenders

Cricket Australia will announce Ricky Ponting's replacement as national Twenty20 captain after their October board meeting. Alex Brown runs the rule over the contenders

Michael Clarke, 28, New South Wales

Cricket Australia's kingmakers nailed their colours to the mast two years ago by announcing Clarke as Ponting's successor, but recent developments have called into question whether the baton change will be so clear-cut. A mainstay of Australia's Test middle-order, Clarke has made less of an impact in the limited overs formats, where his modest strike-rates (67.31 and 80.91 in one-dayers and Twenty20s respectively since the beginning of 2008) have placed significant pressure on his teammates to lift the tempo. That said, Australia have won 11 out of 14 ODIs under Clarke's captaincy, and the right-hander has averaged 97 in his two matches as Australia's Twenty20 skipper. He remains the favourite to succeed Ponting.

Cameron White, 26, Victoria

White has played a leading role in guiding the Bushrangers to all four domestic Big Bash finals - three of them victoriously - and is considered one of the most tactically astute Twenty20 minds in the country. Though omitted from Australia's original squad for the World Twenty20 in England this year, he was eventually called in to replace the Andrew Symonds and retained his position for the series in England. White possesses a presence not dissimilar to Symonds in the Australian middle order - he has averaged 41.40 at the eye-catching strike-rate of 150 in eight Twenty20 internationals - and also offers an occasional wrist-spinning option. With Symonds out of the picture, White will presumably be a permanent fixture in the Australian Twenty20 side henceforth.

Brad Haddin, 31, New South Wales

Selectors have twice called upon Haddin to lead Australia in Twenty20 internationals against New Zealand (home) and Pakistan (away) during rest periods for Ponting and Clarke. Previously, he earned a reputation as an aggressive and adventurous leader at NSW, but has made way for Simon Katich at domestic level in recent seasons. A compact and aggressive batsman, Haddin has been used everywhere from opener to the middle-order in his ODI and Twenty20 career and remains a competent wicketkeeper. Australia's selections panel might baulk at adding to his already heavy workload, however.

Michael Hussey, 34, Western Australia

Hussey is an unlikely option given his advanced age and 0-4 win-loss record as national ODI captain, but has emerged as perhaps the most important batsman in Australia's limited overs sides. Despite modest recent returns in the Test arena, Hussey has played a Michael Bevan-esque role in recent ODI campaigns and was the only Australian nominated for the ICC's one-day player of the year crown.

Callum Ferguson, 24, South Australia

Australia have lost their past five Twenty20 internationals - including both pool games in a shambolic World Twenty20 campaign - prompting CA to announce a major review of selection and tactics. Ferguson would represent the ultimate in clean slates, although an elevation to the captaincy would seem most improbable given his dearth of leadership experience with the Redbacks. He nonetheless remains Australia's brightest batting prospect and could feasibly play the game at the highest level for another decade.

Alex Brown is deputy editor of Cricinfo

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